Identifying the worth of a man
A huge storm sweeps through a few countries causing big loss to life and material. Houses demolished, people washed away, power and water supply disrupted for days. Media reports poured in and people from all over the world sent good wishes and prayers to the affected people. The country in question is the leading power of the world at the moment, the US. News reports focused on shutting down of stock exchange, power disruption, evacuation of thousands of people, a damaged crane on the top of a sky scrapper and the flooding in mainly New York and New Jersey.
As the storm Sandy receded, the focus shifted to plans for rebuilding and the presidential elections. The government poured in huge funds to help people get back on their feet. Hopefully, in a couple of months, New York will be as it was or even better. That is how a government should work for its people. Then I came across lesser known news of the devastation, the same storm has unleashed in some of the relatively less important countries. In Haiti, for example, which also suffered a sever earthquake three years ago, 350,000 people were still residing in refugee camps in the capital city alone. The damage from Sandy, as of now, is 54 people dead and at least 20 still missing. Cholera, that has been stalking these people, especially the ones in the camps, has begun to play havoc in the post-Sandy chaos. Their government and hospitals are struggling with their lack of resources and the supplies of even the basic re-hydration solution -- the lifesaver for people suffering with cholera.
In Cuba, 11 people died and about 3,000 buildings were damaged. But the mainstream news continued to focus on New York, New Jersey and the presidential elections in America. They are important for sure, but are lives of people in poorer countries not so? A friend wrote, “The cries of the small are drowned in a mere grunt (of discomfort) of the big”.
Why is it that we ignore those who actually need to be noticed more and instead focus on those who do not need to be worried about as much? We follow the ‘haves’ rather than worrying about why do we have so many more ‘have-nots’ in the world. We talk about humanity and feeding the hungry through all sorts of ideologies, religions or otherwise. Yet, we feed and overfeed those who don’t even respect food, in fact, they often border somewhere on disrespecting, even abusing and wasting food. Pondering over this acute dichotomy of our behaviour and beliefs, I came across yet another news about Oprah Winfrey. If you don’t know who she is, you are actually doing pretty well. All you need to know is that the news piece claimed her to be worth two billion dollars. And that’s about all to her; just like anyone one else loaded with money, which apparently makes us powerful. Don’t ask me why or how. And if you are afraid of gory details, then don’t ever try to think or find how some people amass so much of it that at least half the world struggles with hunger because of lack of money. At such a juncture, religion and other such ideologies, are conveniently overlooked, lest the billion dollar people begin to feel guilty about another person’s hunger.
How did we as humanity allow ourselves to reach so low where a human being’s worth is judged by a notion of paper and metal currencies? Is a person’s worth not equal to exactly another person’s ? Is it not time yet that we start seeing a person’s real worth through a more humane currency like humanity, helpfulness, empathy, among other things? No marks for guessing who will be most against humane ideas like this.
(The writer is a filmmaker, traveller and doctor)